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Osama Bin Laden is Dead. What Next?

May 2, 2011

During the past ten years the news of Osama Bin Laden’s killing surfaced several times. In the last 4-5 years the western news outlets were rife with speculation about Osama’s presence in Pakistan’s tribal region. One reason was that several most wanted Al-Qaeda leaders were arrested from different parts of Pakistan. Second, it was plausible that Pakistan was the place where Osama could have found loyal sympathizers and protectors. Despite the prolonged guess-work, who would have thought that Osama would finally be killed in Pakistan’s scenic city, Abbottabad.

The mysterious helicopter crash:

The first news report appeared around mid-night about the crash of military helicopter near Kakul, Abbottabad followed by a couple of bomb blasts. The news reports, however, failed to report the number of the causalities onboard or on ground.

Before Obama’s speech:

A few hours later the news about the President Obama’s speech started surfacing on twitter and in my timeline the New York Times was the first news network that broke the news about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. The instant thought that must have struck many Pakistanis was, where was he killed – hope not in Pakistan. Twenty minutes or so CNN started claiming that Osama was killed in a mansion near Islamabad. That ‘near Islmabad’ was actually – Abbottabad. An hour later Obama confirmed the killing of Bin Laden in Pakistan by the US forces. He totally underplayed the role of Pakistani intelligence agencies or military. The media also reported killing of one of Bin Laden’s son and the arrest of two of his wives and four children.

Official word from Pakistan:

More than two hours have been elapsed to Obama’s statement and we are still awaiting Pakistan’s official statement on the incident. There is no word from the interior ministry, the Prime Minister, the President or the ISPR. The only thing known is that the Pakistani intelligence officials have confirmed the operation and the killing of Osama. There have been speculations about the role of Pakistani military forces in this operation. Ironically, the news reports claimed that Bin Laden was apparently living in a residential area called ‘Bilal Town’, near Kakul – the home of Pakistan Military Academy. It is hard to believe that the US forces could have carried out this operation without the assistance or intelligence of  Pakistani forces. It is a tough situation, if our forces claim their role in the killing, they run a huge risk of retaliation from the militant outfits and if they don’t claim their role, they would be criticized for allowing the US forces to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty.


I fear a severe backlash in the wake of this development. Pakistani security forces are already the main target of militants because they blame them for supporting the US designs in the region. TTP is denying the killing of Bin Laden but then they always deny an incident in the beginning just as they had denied the killing of Baithullah Mehsud but accepted it later on.

What next?

The end of Osama Bin Laden is certainly not the end of militancy. Terrorism is cancerous – it is based on the lethal ideology that has already multiplied. It is hard to negotiate on your own terms with terrorists. It is equally hard to crush them by force. This war on terror is unconventional, tiring, isn’t against a specific and known enemy and it may go on for long. The death of a one man doesn’t matter if the ideology lives on.

PS: I am hearing the news of typical, nasty spin that Pakistani media gives to a news. I have learned that the columnist and TV anchor, Javed Choudhary called Bin Laden a ‘Shaheed’ (martyr). That’s too much – just too much.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. May 2, 2011 3:24 am

    Very nice article, one of the best out of all the ones I’ve read in the past hours. (That includes the likes of CNN, Fox, NPR etc.) I completely agree with your last remarks, this sigh of relief is going to be short lived. Nice writing.

  2. May 2, 2011 7:45 am

    I always knew in my heart that Osama would be in Pakistan. But the fact that he was so close to Islamabad is what shocked me.

  3. May 2, 2011 2:29 pm

    very good article! forget about this moron Javed Ch.

  4. May 3, 2011 12:01 am

    What next ?

    Osama earned the United States two more states (Afghanistan, Iraq).
    And now their statements say they wish to cash his dead body as well.

    [(Reuters) – Pakistan must prove to the United States that it did not know al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was hiding in a compound in an affluent neighborhood near the capital of Islamabad, a top U.S. lawmaker said on Monday.

    “This is going to be a time of real pressure” on Pakistan “to basically prove to us that they didn’t know that bin Laden was there,”]

    I have learned that we need to prove everything while for America whatever they say is a proof itself.

    Might is right!!!

    I hope one day the real real terrorist behind the 911 attacks will be discovered.

    “The American mass media have achieved what American political might could not: World domination. ~Akbar S. Ahmed”

  5. May 3, 2011 12:40 am

    I am not surprised if Javed Chaudhary considered Usama as “shaheed” because Usama bin Laden is innocent for those who believe the whole story of 911 was a drama written by America’s own authors. (Mr. Bush and company)

    Mr. Bush’s famous dialogue can help in this regard:

    “”See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

    Whoever was behind the 911 attacks, May God enter him in the fire. ameen

  6. May 4, 2011 2:45 am

    Implications are certainly huge here … which is putting paskitan in a Catch-22 situation …

    I for one definitely wouldn’t want to be in vazeer-e-aazam’s shoes

  7. May 4, 2011 3:28 pm

    OBL was just a pawn who staged and played his part as long as he was manouvered. Now he has been conveniently eliminated and disposed off that may spell a shift in paradigm or creation of a new myth or scapegoat to meet the nefarious designs that fit in larger scheme of things. What is even worse, things don’t seem to go well in national & regional perspective.

  8. May 5, 2011 1:28 am

    Let me give you a background first, so that you can form the right image. I love geo politics, and hence have been following recent events in Pakistan and the middle east almost as closely as I follow events in India. I do not swallow western opinions blindly, I always lend my ears to both sides of the story.

    I was watching how media of various nationalities were reacting to the news of OSAMA’s death. In this regard, I watched atleast four shows and read atleast four print media articles from Pakistan on the event. Two
    Pakistani shows come to my mind, namely, Crossfire on Dunya TV with Mehar Bukhari aired on 02-05-11, ARY News program with Kashif Abbasi aired on 02-05-11. In all the shows I watched, and all the print media I read (excluding blogs), the points being discussed were
    1. How not detecting OBL was a Pak intelligence failure
    2. How Pak sovereignity was breached by American military operations
    3. How the whole thing is a Hoax or a staged act
    4. What the ruling party and government should have revealed
    5. How the president should have reacted
    6. What is American/Indian reaction going to be.

    The above 6 points were the same points repeatedly discussed everywhere (give or take a couple of points) in Pak media. Which brings me to my question.

    Why didn’t any anchor or journalist take this line of questioning?

    What was Osama, the most hated person of the world, doing in Pakistan?
    Why did Osama think he’d be safe in Pakistan of all the countries in the world?
    Who was supporting him and providing him logistics?
    How did he enter Pakistan without being spotted?
    In whose name was that building registered?
    Who was providing him food and medicines?

    Why was nobody was willing to talk about the big elephant in the room? To me the discussions in Pak media looked like a beating around the bush, while constantly avoiding the main actor. Nobody spoke about Osama, or how he got there, and how he survived there, instead the discussions were all about Americans, hoaxes, conspiracies, Indians and Zardari. Nobody spoke about Osama and his relation with Pakistan. strange.

  9. May 6, 2011 9:43 am


    I have got only one questions.

    Suppose Russian or China’s special task force does a similar operation in a city of America or India without their permission and after the operations announces that they have found, killed and thrown Ayman al-Zawahiri into the sea. What do you think America/India and the rest of the world would just express their gratitude and won’t demand a proof of the claim.

    First proof that America did not lie then we would be more than pleased to respond to your queries.

    [Btw, I personally believe that OBL was killed in the Battle of Tora Bora in 2001. And the recent claims have made mere to pressurize Pakistan and win the next election.]

    • May 9, 2011 1:20 am

      @Eyewitness – Further extending your hypothesis. If the United Nations and the world community had declared that Ayman al-Zawahiri was a i) wanted man for international terror crimes and ii) was responsible for the death of various nationals and iii)was issuing videos threatening various parts of the world with terror strikes and iv) was the leader of the most infamous terror org and vi) was on the top of the list of most wanted criminals worldwide (as was the case with UBL)then:
      I as an Indian would be very very verrrrry concerned if that man was in my country. The primary objective of my country’s tactical organizations would be to locate and terminate or try this criminal.
      If Russia or China successfully came into Indian territory and completed an operation by terminating Ayman al-Zawahiri and showed the house, the location, photographs and DNA test results. If Ayman al-Zawahiri is survived by his wife and daughter, then it would be ample proof as there is a thing called truth serum which can be administered to the wife. Once the initial findings point to the authenticity of the operation, or the world leaders accept the legitimacy of the operation. I as an Indian would then expect my leaders to apologize to the world community for having failed at locating the terrorist and for having unintentionally harboring this maniac.

      I would then expect my media to question about Ayman al-Zawahiri. Why was he in my country. Who was that house registered to etc. First convince myself of the authenticity of the operation, and once convinced track down on all his aides within the country and establishment.

      I would then expect the world leaders to visit China/Russia for a dialogue on why they preferred a secret operation as opposed to intelligence sharing.

  10. May 6, 2011 6:35 pm

    Thank you for the comments and feedback. Personally, I feel there is a lot of ambiguity regarding this entire event. The burial in sea part and not releasing the photos of Bin Laden also raise suspicion.

    Sujay, I can’t comment much on your take on Pakistani electronic media, as I avoid it myself. As for the newspaper journalists, you’d find several of them with variety of opinions. But generally the questions you raised are asked by many op-ed writers.

    • May 9, 2011 1:40 am

      Hi Ayesha,

      I thought there was ample proof of that operation’s target being UBL.

      1. There was a photo of UBL dead
      2. The locals confirmed there was an operation
      3. Two couriers were killed, if they were innocent, then why were they near that residence? what were they doing there etc.
      4. UBL is survived by a wife and daughter who can be (and are) being questioned by PAK authorites. In case of extreme doubt and suspicion the truth serum can also be administered.
      5. If it wasn’t UBL living in the house, the Pak administration can easily verify who else was living there, there must be some kind of record with the local municipal authorities.
      6. US has confirmed a DNA test of the dead UBL and his sibling in the US turning positive.
      7. The Pak president, prime minister and interior minister seem to have been convinced. Now, it is not US’s duty to convince every Abbas, Ali and Amir on the streets. That duty belongs to the media and the authorities of Pak.
      8. Even after all the proofs, one can still deny. Even if the body was in Pakistan, people can still claim foulplay. There is no cure for denial.
      9. And finally, if UBL is still alive he can come out and produce a mime pop album as music is unholy according to him.
      10. If UBL were dead earlier, then Al Qaeda wouldn’t have confirmed his death now, to corroborate US’s theories.

      Indian media also has its share of “opinion dictators” and hypocrites. Arnab Goswami comes to my mind.

      Anyways, can you point me to those programs where the journalists asked why UBL was in the country and who was that house registered to etc…basically, questions about Osama.

  11. May 11, 2011 8:24 am

    Dunno maybe this guy got some answers.

  12. May 15, 2011 6:38 pm

    Sujay, Thank you for responding once more and I am sorry for not being able to share my views about the points you raised in your comments made on : May 9, 2011 at 1:40 am.

    Although, I appreciate your hard work because I know it isn’t easy to take time for such a detailed sharing.

    But still I wonder how an observer like you was also fooled by two photographs which were joined together to make the world believe that this time USA did not lie as they do so too often nowadays and Bin Laden was really killed in Abotabad.

    The image which really helped the USA on the first day of their claim is really fake and anyone who knows a little about Photoshop or even MS-Paint can see how such photos can easily be created with a few clicks and within few minutes.

    The fake photograph was shown on famous and renowned TV channels like and was published on the web sites of widely trusted news papers.

    Why the photograph is fake?

    “An image apparently showing a dead Osama bin Laden broadcast on Pakistani television and picked up by British newspaper websites is a fake.
    The bloodied image of a man with matted hair and a blank, half-opened eye has been circulating on the internet for the past two years. It was used on the front pages of the Mail, Times, Telegraph, Sun and Mirror websites, though swiftly removed after the fake was exposed on Twitter.”

    MailOnline says:

    President Obama has decided NOT to release dead Bin Laden pictures.

    [2. The locals confirmed there was an operation]

    Locals who heard the explosions were certainly witness of an operation but no one witnessed the game played inside the house.
    [3.Two couriers were killed]

    Yes, They were Bin Laden’s because the USA says so.

    6. US has confirmed a DNA test of the dead UBL and his sibling in the US turning positive.

    Who will confirm that they really did so and who will examine the test reports when America himself has become a Policeman,Lawyer, Witness, Judge and the executioner.

    [Now, it is not US’s duty to convince every Abbas, Ali and Amir on the streets. That duty belongs to the media and the authorities of Pak.]

    So, You mean all America has to do is to make claims and the duty of media is to ensure that Abbas, Ali, Amir (and Eyewiness) believe whatever they utter.

    [There is no cure for denial.]

    Certainly, their is no cure for denial American allies will keep denying the fact that America once again lied as it lied by claiming that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction :

    [10. If UBL were dead earlier, then Al Qaeda wouldn’t have confirmed his death now, to corroborate US’s theories.]

    How to confirm that whatever tape or audio statement is attributed to Al Qaeda is really from Al Qaeda?

    Just let me explain how CIA itself speaks for Al Qaeda.

    Dear Sujay,
    We are living in a world where materialism is prevailing,

    When I send a signed check of only five thousand rupees to my bank, they confirm it by matching it with my signatures in their record, when we shop we confirm the manufacturer, we receive a fifty rupee note we confirm because we don’t want fake currency notes.

    I can’t understand why don’t we confirm whatever we hear about international affairs which can prevent us from supporting the oppressor.

    “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. ~Malcolm X ”


    I don’t know for sure whether Bin Laden is alive or dead but I am sure that I am bound to confirm the news instead of supporting the killings of innocents right away;

    “O you who believe! if an evil-doer comes to you with a news, look carefully into it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you have done.[49;6]”

    Sorry of harsh words though harm was inteded.

    Best wishes

    • May 16, 2011 2:58 am

      @Eyewitness – You have conveniently ignored point 4 in my argument.

      4. UBL is survived by a wife and daughter who can be (and are) being questioned by PAK authorites. Till now, the PAK government and army have confirmed UBL’s death.
      In case of extreme doubt and suspicion the truth serum can also be administered.

      Anyways, I have one small doubt. I am not sure whether you are truly a human or an alien from planet Borg. Nothing you or your countrymen say will be accepted by me as proof, because your leaders have lied earlier. I will not accept your photo ID as it could have been photoshopped. I will not accept your DNA test results as they are all your countrymen who will perform the test. I know some foreigners might have seen you in person, but since they could have seen you only till your house, what you morph into inside your house cannot be trusted.
      Even if your friends in your organization/school confirm by tape or video, the tape and video can also be suspect. The whole world may be conspiring against me. Who knows?

  13. May 15, 2011 11:16 pm

    I apologize for the mistake in the last sentence.
    In my previous comments, kindly read the last sentence as:

    “Sorry of harsh words though harm was not intended.”

  14. September 3, 2012 7:27 pm

    Bin Laden was almost dead when SEALs arrived: Book

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